Three and a half years ago I decided to try raising my own chickens and the first, of dozens, were about to hatch.
Since then we've acquired bunnies and a couple of goats. Yesterday I had a controlled mating of our NZ White cross with a Flemish Giant cross. And I'm looking for a Billy goat to get at least one of the girls pregnant, so that in Spring I can start milking them.
Tonight I was sitting on the couch in the dark and wondering why my head feels as if it's going to blow up pretty soon. And I realized the enormous learning curve I have been having in the past years.
On top of parenting!
Since we started with the animals I have learned to raise, grow, kill and butcher chickens and rabbits. And despite everyone telling me that I wouldn't be able to do so, I have!
Also, I have learnt to make my own Quark and Camembert, and will start on a new cheese next week.
Not to mention that I'm preparing myself to get into larger farm animals, the goats. Their needs are quite different, and to a point more substantial, especially regarding housing and containment. And I kid myself, excuse the pun, to be able to handle a goat in kid, and giving birth and then looking after it. Hopefully, if and when it happens, Mama doe will instinctively know what to do.
Not only am I learning about animal husbandry, I'm also trying to improve my gardening hand: so far I've managed for a second season to successfully grow tomatoes. I'd like to expand that, and start growing herbs and veges for family and animal use. To achieve that I'm also improving my building skills, well kind of, I suppose I'm a sloppy builder, but at least so far none of my constructions have fallen over and they're doing their job. Keeping the rabbits and goats in their enclosures! And bracing the roof on the goat barn. Next up are raised beds for next seasons veges and herbs. And another fenced garden within the goat paddock to grow medicinal herbs for them.
My husband is constantly discussing with people what a beneficial medium the Internet can be. And I'm his prime example: without the Internet, and various lifestyle forums with enthusiasts and specialists lending an ear and advice I would NEVER have dared to go where I've gone. I could have gone to classes, wasting a lot of petrol and time for theoretical knowledge, instead I contacted people through the net, borrowed books from the library and just got my hands dirty.
Not only is my head popping with all the new information, but I'm also dealing with the difference of RL and virtual life, as I'm trying to teach my children the farm ways through plain exposure to everything. As well as letting them use the computer and discover a totally different world there.
And they are learning, what I don't know precisely, but as long as they are interested to watch, observe and help, I'm happy.
Who knows what will grow out of the knowledge that caused the following remark: "That's pretty hardcore for such a sweet mama". While observing me skinning and gutting a chicken!
Take heart, and if you don't succeed the first time, keep trying til you do!
And while doing it, whatever IT may be, make sure to wear the right safety gear!!!!